Your GP and incontinence
Your GP can assess whether you have incontinence, decide which type of incontinence you have, give general advice on controlling symptoms of incontinence, provide information on pelvic floor exercises and bladder retraining, and provide treatment for incontinence with prescribed medicines.
If lifestyle changes and treatments don't solve the problem, your GP can refer you to a continence adviser or specialist.
In the UK, there are over 360 NHS continence clinics, with specialist teams providing support and medical advice for people with bowel or bladder incontinence. If you prefer not to see your GP, these are an excellent alternative first stop for diagnosis and treatment.
Continence clinics can be based in a hospital or in the community, often attached to a health centre. You don’t need to be referred by your GP and you can phone them directly to make an appointment. On your first visit, a continence adviser, usually a nurse who specialises in bowel and bladder problems, will assess you and explain your incontinence treatment options.
Continence advisers, and the incontinence physiotherapists who work alongside them, are particularly good at teaching pelvic floor exercises to women with stress incontinence (sudden leaks) and bladder training to women with urge incontinence (regular urges to use the toilet). They can also issue pelvic-floor-strengthening devices – such as vaginal cones, and continence pads and products – and explain how to use them.
To find details of your local NHS continence clinic:
Call your local hospital for details of your nearest clinic.